Photo courtesy Eclipse Sportswire
It’s a pretty big jump in class to go from a race at Indiana Downs to one at Saratoga, making it logical to overlook a shipper from the small Midwest tracks at the Spa.
But sometimes there’s a reason or two to have faith in a relative new face on the circuit.
Take Boston Proper. Entered in the third race at Saratoga on Aug. 18, he came into the $35,000 claimer off a maiden special weight win on the turf at Indiana Downs.
His speed figures fit well with the rest of the horses in the field, though there was surely a reason to question his ability to handle the class jump from Indiana Downs to Saratoga – until you checked his first two races.
Before arriving at Indiana Downs, Boston Proper started his career at Saratoga. He was fourth in a maiden special weight race on dirt in his debut, then lost by a neck in a $50,000 maiden turf claimer at the Spa on Aug. 22, 2012.
He was claimed out of that second Saratoga race by his current connections, who rested him until February when he made two starts at Oaklawn Park. The Indiana Downs races followed and then it was time to come full circle and return to the Spa.
Though the $35,000 claimer was on dirt, Boston Proper had finished second on dirt at Oaklawn and, being a son of Speightstown, had a pedigree that indicated he could handle dirt.
He was an inviting wagering possibility in the race and became an even more rewarding choice when he won by a half-length at 5-1 odds and returned $12.20 to win.
THE LESSON: Before getting too provincial and tossing out a shipper based on its last few races at a smaller circuit, check all of the horse’s past performances to see if there’s an indication it can handle its new surroundings.